Friday, September 26, 2008
No More Water
It's raining like the dickens here and there's a flood watch on, so it's not without a tinge of irony that I post today's funky nugget, "No More Water in the Well," by Bongos Ikwue & the Groovies.
Unlike most of the forgotten Nigerian musicians who eventually find their way onto this page, Bongos Ikwue is an artist whose name and music still resonate with a large portion of the Nigerian populace. Known primarily as the folky and philosophical troubadour behind sentimental favorites such as "Still Searching," "Sitting on the Beach" and "Cock Crow at Dawn," Ikwue is acclaimed as one of the most sensitive songsmiths in Nigeria's pop canon; many forget, though, that he started out as a righteous rocker.
Ikwue's 1973 debut, the heavily psychedelic You Can't Hurry the Sunrise (produced by Ginger Baker and Jide Alawiye), was one of the first releases from Baker's ARC label, but Ikwue soon signed up with EMI where he recorded a string of classic LPs through the 1970s (including the rarely-seen self-titled set from which today's track is taken).
Ikwue's star dimmed somewhat in the 1980s due to poor handling by his new label Tabansi, and a bit of embarrassment surrounding the widespread rumor that his calypso ballad "Mariama" had been addressed to the First Lady Maryam Babangida, with whom he had allegedly enjoyed a passionate affair in their younger days.
Bongos has since retired to his native Benue State where he has established himself as a magnate in construction and manufacturing. He has long promised a return to the music scene, though. In fact, I think I recall him featuring on a record with some rapper a few months ago and announcing that his new album was completed and would be out later this year. I sure hope it doesn't suck!
Bongos Ikwue & the Groovies - "No More Water in the Well"
(Sari fa' di likkle skip dem)